70-66 Top cricketers

70 – Paul Le Masurier

HAS Guernsey ever seen a more dangerous and successful leg- spinner? Certainly not Elizabeth College, where this player made his mark in spectacular fashion at the start of the 1930s. An outstanding all-round sportsman, Le Masurier, the elder brother of the celebrated national track-and-field coach John, took an incredible 48 wickets against Victoria College alone during his four years in the first team. In 1931, there was a 9 for 25 and a summer later he produced an 8 for 23 and 5 for 39 against the puzzled brown caps.
Victoria seemed to have largely worked him out in 1933 when he took just two, but in his final season it was a return to normal, with the leggie claiming a five-for and a four-for. The Elizabethan magazine said this of him after his breakthrough season in the XI: ‘Excellent leg-breaker with a very good length never afraid “to pitch them up” and quite capable of going through a good side on a sticky wicket.’

By 1934, he had improved his batting to be a regular in the top four, but his scores barely warranted the promotion. That said, against Victoria second time around that year, he crashed two sixes. All though these years of wrist- spinning mayhem of his, he would open the bowling and his final post- season review in the Elizabethan note he would get wickets on any sort of pitch. Sadly, Guernsey cricket did not see a whole lot more of this talented player who joined the Army and reached the position of major. Post Army he became a dentist in Wales.

69 – Andy Burkhardt

ANOTHER to emerge from the Grammar school cricketing production line in the 1980s, the Pilgrims bowler was key to the club’s dominant years from the mid to late 1980s. Not often an extravagant wicket-taker, ‘Burky’ was a real handful for opening batsmen, his combination of real pace, bounce and movement a major test for even the best. His first of two full Island appearances, in 1988, saw him shake up the Jersey top order like perhaps no other Guernsey paceman has. A good judge playing that day and fielding in the slip cordon, reckon it to be the quickest spell ever delivered by a Sarnian. With a strong breeze at his back from the pavilion end at Grainville, Burkhardt quickly had Wayne Gallichan caught at short leg, fending off a short ball. He was also convinced that Stephen Blampied had edged a short ball to the wicket-keeper, but in fact the ball had brushed the batsman’s shirt on the way. Chris Ollerenshaw called for a helmet and although the Pilgrim was unable to add to his victims, his 12-over spell scared the batsmen and was instrumental in a Guernsey win. An effective late-order bat on occasion, injury blighted his bowling career and prevent him from always maintaining that fierce pace we saw as a younger man. In his latter years helped St Pierre to a league title success.

68 – Henry Davey

ONE of the illustrious few who will appear in both the football and cricket all-time Top 100s, this hard- hitting and brave opening batsman learned the game at the Grammar School and initially played his club cricket with Pilgrims, the school’s unofficial club team. But it was with St Martin’s and, at the end of his career after Saints had disbanded, Optimists, that Davey made his reputation. It was in 1976, four years after his final Muratti football appearance, that he won his Island cap and he chipped in with 23 opening with his St Martin’s opening partner Alan Lewis against the very lively Barry Middleton and Richard Allott. Two years later and with the ball swinging at the Victoria College ground, he dug in alongside Warren Barrett, scoring 22 as Guernsey set about saving the day in the last years of the draw element of the inter-insular fixtures. While paired with Lewis for a few short years, Davey always gave St Martin’s a chance to win any Evening League game and there was no better example of that than the summer of ’77 when Saints came into an end-of-season clash with Cobo at KGV, desperate for a win to help avoid relegation. Cobo were going for the title though and when they posted 113 in 13 eight-ball overs it seemed they had one hand on the Rozel Shield. Such a score would, surely, be beyond even this talented pair. But no. Against a quality attack they savaged the bowling to the extent that Saints won by 10 wickets with 2.2 overs to spare to hand the title to an unexpecting Rovers. Also a very handy medium-quickish right-arm bowler.

67 – Carl Blad

WILL always be remembered in Elizabeth College cricketing folklore for his century alongside elder brother John against Victoria in 1913, but it was for his influence on the game as a whole on island many years later that elevates his Top 100 score. Post- Occupation not only did he play as an enthusiastic veteran, as secretary and then president, he ran the Guernsey Island Cricket Club which, in terms of influence, was the most important club on the island. Four decades earlier, he scored 104 in partnership with his brother in the first of the two Victoria games of 1914. ‘C. E.’, as he was known at school, batted brilliantly with the greatest of freedom, hitting 12 fours and two sixes.

By this farewell year in College cricket, ‘C. E.;’ also regularly took the new ball with the other big fish of the side, the captain G. H. Forty.

1912 –          54 v Vic Coll

1913 –          44 v Vic Coll

1914 –          114* & 4-23 v Rangers; 85 v Athletics; 5-45 v Grange; 100* & 6-56 v Athletics

66 – HV ‘Bill’ Stone

MANY years ago, the now late Brigadier Mike White looked back at his life in cricket and the players he best remembered. As for Guernsey cricket he picked out a few, but specifically this Old Elizabethan who would achieve more on the hockey fields where he would become a regular for the Scotland national side. ‘Probably one of the best Channel Islands players there has ever been,’ wrote the Brigadier, adding ‘he was a magnificent batsman’. Indeed, he was, and in inter-insular terms arguably there has been none better than the match-winning 156 not out he produced for the GICC against JICC in 1951. Chasing a target of 226 for victory at the College Field, the chances of a home win seemed remote with 140 needed in the final hour. But Stone, coming in at four after both openers went for ducks, set about the bowling and hit the winning runs with only seconds to spare. Two years later, in a full inter-insular, he threatened another three-figure score, but, after moving onto 85 in good time, was dismissed having struck four sixes and 11 fours. Many years earlier, at the College, he had developed into a destructive middle-order batsman by the time of his farewell summer of 1929. Against Victoria first time around the school captain plundered 46 and added a century against visiting King Edward VI School. The Elizabethan magazine noted this of their ‘efficient and keen captain’, adding: ‘Very good bat with an excellent off-drive; leg-break around the wicket bowler and fine field.’